How to Talk to Girls at Parties follows Enn, a punk rock addled teen who finds himself enamored with a girl he meets at a very strange party. This girl, Zan, is also incredibly odd and as they grow closer he realizes she may be more literally out of this world than he anticipated.
In an effort to expand her horizons, Zan enters the punk scene and inadvertently takes it by storm. Rocking out and capturing the hearts of the even the most punk of them all Nicole Kidman’s character, Boadicea, Queen of Punk. But most of all, she captures the heart of Enn, and they begin a tumultuous and trippy descent into the depths of both of their worlds.
I think the best part of this movie is the commitment. Elle Fanning freaking sells every inch of her part. She’s manic, confused, tender, curious… and she rotates between them all effortlessly. She plays an inherently weird character, I mean she’s a freaking alien, but she manages to keep a charm about her that makes you just love her. She commits a hundred and fifty percent to the character and it’s a fun time to watch. Nicole Kidman also plays a character unlinke anything I’ve ever seen her do before and it’s bold to say the least. Her accent is garbage, but her look and her performance is kind of rad. And to top off performances, lets give a hand to Alex Sharp. I liked him a lot in To the Bone, the Netflix anorexia movie (may I say he is the only thing I enjoyed in that movie) but given a semi-decent script to work with he really hit his mark. This movie only works because everyone in it has totally subscribed to the weirdness and gives it every inch of effort. It’s great to see.
There’s little jokes throughout that I thought actually did something pretty interesting with the whole alien genre. Placing the story in the London punk scene was definitely weird, but also paid off. Putting punk against the restrictive nature of the alien colonies created a pretty cool contrast that worked against and with each other. It feeds off the cult panic that arose after Manson in interesting ways, and draws history into the screenplay, offering both a scifi love story and period piece. They make Zan an American, and so every weird thing she does they just think is how Americans are, which is honestly really funny. They could have played it up a little more, but it was a really funny idea. Making her not just an outsider on one level, but on two was a fun choice.
The cinematography in this thing is freaking wild. Definitely a trip and half at times, with some really weird visuals and stylistic choices, it gives the impression that it knows it’s indie and weird and just kind of leans into it as hard as possible. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s just weird and off-putting. Story-wise there’s a ton of stuff that’s very confusing and vague and isn’t explained at all. It’s bizarre and strange, but not terrible. I like that what it comes comes down to is the simple fact that this movie definitely doesn’t care if you dig it or not, which might be the most punk part of all.
Amy’s Recommendation: 8/10